Covid-19 outbreak: Tourism minister again corners dept officials, asks CM take harsh...

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Jaipur: Rajasthan minister for tourism Vishvendra Singh has once again expressed his public displeasure for his department’s functioning amid the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak that has roiled the sector, one of the major sources of revenue for the desert state.

In a series of tweets, the minister questioned the indifferent working of the department officials and their shortcomings while urging chief minister Ashok Gehlot to take harsh action against the errant officials.

“I have maintained a silence on too many things for too long, going against my temperament and work ethics. But, my CM Ashok Gehlot has always advocated transparency and in that spirit, I am now forced to acknowledge the shortcomings of the tourism department in the last year and a half,” he tweeted.

“The department officials are indifferent towards achieving high tourism growth and introducing new products, despite my constant prodding and initiatives. In the last one and a half years, the department has been unable to introduce a new tourism policy,” he further tweeted.

He pointed out that not a single new tourist guide has been recruited since the Gehlot-led government came to power and the department has not been able to bag even a solitary Swadesh Darshan project of the Union Ministry of Tourism.

He lamented the lack of revival plan for the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) while ruing about the non-inauguration of any state tourism project and the non-appointment of new tourism officers during his tenure.

However, two managing directors (MDs) of RTDC have been changed in the interim, he added.

Singh also cast a critical eye on the department’s “abysmal financial condition” amid the lack of “training and reorientation programme of tourism department officials and the industry stakeholders”.

He alleged that the officials are groping in the dark for the sector’s revival in the desert state, which forms the golden triangle of the popular tourist destination in the country along with Delhi and Agra, in a post-Covid-19 world.

He urged CM Gehlot to take harsh action against the errant tourism department officials in a bid to save the livelihoods of lakhs of people who are engaged in the sector and allied industries, while expressing deep anguish over the discerning dip in tourist arrivals because of the pandemic.

Earlier in February, the minister had also questioned the functioning of tourism officials and raised objection to the bidding process of a light-and-sound show tender, citing irregularities.

He had met CM Gehlot and deputy CM Sachin Pilot after he found the officials were dragging their feet in scrapping the tender’s bidding process.

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